Donald Trump told Fox News that he would only participate in Thursday night’s GOP debate if the network donated $5 million to charities, according to the network.
“We explained that was not possible and we could not engage in a quid pro quo, nor could any money change hands for any reason,” a Fox News spokesperson told The Hill in a statement.
Trump, the GOP front-runner, decided to skip the event, claiming that the network was unfair to him, the latest salvo in his long-running feud with Fox. Trump cited a harsh statement from the network released after he called for sidelining moderator Megyn Kelly.
The spokesperson also pushed back against Trump’s recent claims that the network’s CEO called him repeatedly after he decided to pull out of the debate.
“Roger Ailes had three brief conversations with Donald Trump today about possibly appearing at the debate – there were not multiple calls placed by Ailes to Trump,” the spokesperson said.
“We acknowledged his concerns about a satirical observation we made in order to quell the attacks on Megyn Kelly, and prevent her from being smeared any further.”
The spokesperson said the network stood by “our journalistic standards” as well as Kelly, noting that it is “proud to have her on stage as a debate moderator.”
Trump followed through on his threat to skip the debate and is hosting an event for veterans just a few miles away.